‘Do you think…you could find my birth mom’s name….do you?’: Adoptive father shares difficulties of parenting kids with trauma

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“They pop up at the weirdest and least expected times…these questions do.

‘Daddy…do you think…’

[his small hands trembling, wringing them together, trying to keep from crying…]

‘Do you think…you could find my birth mom’s name….do you?’

young boy in black shirt
Courtesy of Tymm Hoffman

Parenting is hard.

Parenting where trauma is involved is motherf***ing hard.

I came home from a late workout tonight to three scenarios playing out.

One amazing kid in her room working on a presentation she is giving to her school on racism. To her whole school.

Another amazing kid working on an emotionally tough genealogy project for her social studies class.

And my little amazing man⁠—standing in the kitchen with tears about to flood out of his little eyes⁠—asking me something that was pressing on his heart.

It can almost be too much…except as daddy, I can’t let it be.

oldest daughter standing against wall smiling
Courtesy of Tymm Hoffman

The next 90 minutes involved digging out adoption dossiers, reading through hard reports, smiling, laughing, crying, hugging, making fun of baby pictures, listening to presentations, discussing racism, encouraging each other, leaning into each other, accepting all the hard, but remembering all the good and lifting each other up.

Racism. Adoption. Birth families. Gaps in timelines we can’t fill.


My kids are the strongest three human beings I have ever had the incredible privilege of knowing. In their short lives⁠, God has written a story so deep, so powerful, so moving…I don’t feel worthy to even be near it.

I hope one day, they let you in and you know the whole story. THEIR story to share if and when and where they want to.

I looked them each in the eye tonight⁠—through my own tears⁠—and told them they are fighters…survivors…warriors…here on earth in this time and place for BIG things. And I believe it.

I hope and pray they do too.

P.S. Any teachers reading: this night—this emotionally charged night—was brought on by a project to trace and create your family tree. I am not saying those are wrong—I think they’re great—but consider the pain that can come from it, and not just in this scenario here in our house, but all over in dynamic, different, and fluid family situations. We got through it and we’re all stronger, but not every child/family will approach it that way.”

middle daughter smiling into camera
Courtesy of Tymm Hoffman

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Tymm Hoffman of Colorado. You can follow his journey on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. Submit your own story here, and be sure to subscribeto our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.

Read more stories like this:

‘I think I might be your birth mom.’ It was crazy to have even been able to find her that easily.’: Adoptee reunites with birth family, finds biological father

‘Is my mom ok? Will I ever get to live with her again?’: Woman shares mother’s alcohol addiction, experience in foster care

Adoptee Receives Surprise Birthday Message From Birth Mother He’s Spent Years Desperately Searching For

‘I was out of town when I got the call. ‘Pack your stuff! We have a baby coming! She was induced this morning!’: Single mom adopts son from brave birth mother after emotional journey

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